The Complete and Only Travel Packing Checklist You’ll Ever Need

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travel packing checklist

Roughly 62 percent of Americans overpack when going on vacation. More often than not, this mistake results from procrastination, as a third of all travelers wait until the day of their trip to start packing. Other times, people overpack because they fail to make a travel packing checklist.

If you’re going on vacation, it is essential to plan at least a few days in advance. Doing so will ensure you avoid overweight luggage fees or forgetting something important.

To help you out, we’ve prepared the best travel checklist for your next vacation. By following it, you’ll not only have all your travel essentials, but you’ll also save some space for souvenirs!

Choose the Right Suitcase

Before you start packing, you should consider the type of suitcase you’ll use. While any bag may seem to get the job done, some suitcases are better than others, especially when traveling by plane.

Lightweight suitcases with wheels are typically the best type of luggage, as they will allow you to pack more without exceeding the weight limit when checking your bag. They are also easy to transport since you won’t have to lug them around.

Make a List of Essentials

Next, you should make a list of items that you will need during your trip. Jot down the essentials first, such as your:

  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Earbuds
  • Travel documents
  • Keys
  • Glasses/Contacts
  • Medication

You should pack these items first in a small bag so you can keep them with you at all times. Never put these in a checked suitcase since they could get lost or delayed.

Save Space if Possible

It can be a real challenge to travel with only a carry-on bag, especially if your trip is lengthy. One way to save precious space is leaving behind items such as:

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothpaste
  • Body and face wash
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Shaving cream and a razor
  • Feminine care items
  • Cotton rounds
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Once you reach your destination, you can pick these items up at a drugstore or use the toiletries provided at your hotel.

Yet, if you absolutely cannot live without your favorite brands, you can pack liquids in small 3.4-ounce bottles. Any fluids, gels, or sprays larger than this size will not pass TSA security at the airport.

Remember also to bring along any health and beauty essentials, including:

  • Vitamins
  • Sunscreen
  • Makeup
  • Hair products and tools
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Tweezers
  • Nail polish and remover

The best way to store these items is in a water-resistant cosmetic bag, carefully placed on top of your clothes. By doing this, you won’t have to worry about leaks.

Pack Mix and Match Pieces

If you’re short on space, it’s best to pack simple tops and bottoms that can be mixed and matched. To create versatile outfits, you should pack three bottoms, such as:

  • Jeans
  • Dress pants
  • Shorts
  • Skirt/dress

Next, you should find four tops that you can wear with several of your bottoms. A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t pack a garment if you can only wear it as part of one outfit.

Finally, you should choose two pieces of outerwear. Depending on the climate of your destination, you may need a jacket, coat, cardigan, blazer, or heavy sweater.

With just these three bottoms, four tops, and two pieces of outerwear, you’ll have 24 possible outfits from which to choose. Pretty impressive, right?

Consider Your Accessories

Once you have all your outfits in mind, you can plan your accessories! Try to include small items such as:

  • Jewelry
  • Scarves
  • Belts
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats
  • Ties

These accessories are a great way to spice up your plain outfits while traveling!

Lay Out All Your Items

Now that you have a good idea of what to pack lay everything out on the floor or bed. Doing so will allow you to spot any missing items such as:

  • Socks
  • Undergarments
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Exercise clothes

This step is also the perfect moment to put back any items that you don’t really need on your vacation.

Fold, Interfold, or Roll

Folding is the most popular method when packing for vacation, but it isn’t necessarily the most efficient. So here are some alternative approaches!

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Interfolding clothes is basically weaving everything into a giant bundle, which keeps them wrinkle-free. Alternatively, you could roll soft items such as jeans to save space to maintain this travel packing checklist.

If you have delicate items, like a suit or dress, it’s best to fold or lay them nicely on the top of the pile.

Utilize Shoe Space

Depending on your destination and the activities you intend to do, you may need to bring along several pairs of shoes, including:

  • Sneakers
  • Dress shoes
  • Flats
  • Sandals
  • Water shoes

Most shoes are heavy and take up a lot of space, so try to bring just a couple of pairs. A smart travel tip is to roll up small items and put them inside of your shoes. You might want to do this with:

  • Belts
  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • Underwear

Not only will this save space, but it will also help your shoes keep their shape and avoid being squashed in your suitcase.

Save Space for Souvenirs

If you’re going to a foreign country, the last thing you would want to do is pack your suitcase to the max. So instead, try to leave at least a little space for souvenirs. This will save you a lot of disappointment at the end of your trip when packing up all your cute trinkets and exotic finds.

Consider COVID-19 Restrictions

Lastly, you should consider any items you will need to follow local COVID-19 restrictions in your destination. For example, in some countries, face masks are obligatory. Thus, it’s a good idea to research regulations ahead of time.

If you are using a travel agent such as Funjet (more about Funjet here), you can ask them about the COVID restrictions in your destination.

Pack Like a Pro with this Travel Packing Checklist

Preparing for a vacation can be stressful or make you feel anxious. Nevertheless, this travel packing checklist has all your basic needs covered. Once you are finished packing, remember to relax and enjoy your vacation!

Did you enjoy this post? If so, be sure to check out more of our travel-related content!